Guidance tackles explaining CFPB view of ‘abusive conduct’ in consumer financial markets

Guidance aimed at addressing abusive conduct in consumer financial markets was issued Monday by the federal consumer financial protection agency, which termed the guidance a “policy statement” explaining the legal prohibition on abusive conduct in those markets.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the guidance identifies two broad elements that are typically including in its view of abusive conduct. Those are: obscuring important features of a product or services, or leveraging certain circumstances — including gaps in understanding, unequal bargaining power, or consumer reliance — to take unreasonable advantage.

“In particular, the statement describes how the use of dark patterns, set-up-to-fail business models like those observed before the mortgage crisis, profiteering off captive customers, and kickbacks and self-dealing can be abusive,” the bureau said.

The bureau said it is taking public comments on the guidance, which will be published in the Federal Register, until July 3.

CFPB Issues Guidance to Address Abusive Conduct in Consumer Financial Markets